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Tonight: Huntsville City Councilman invites citizens, law enforcement to meeting on community policing

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville City Councilman Devyn Keith wants both citizens and law enforcement to come together to have a community conversation.

On Monday, March 20, the topic will be community policing. The meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Academy for Academics and Arts, located at 4800 Sparkman Drive NW.

After a recent encounter with police, Keith said he wants to start a conversation.

Keith represents District 1. He said the encounter -- where police apparently briefly questioned him as a potential robbery suspect based on his race and clothing -- was resolved with "civility between myself and the officers on duty."

He said he still wants the community to weigh in, though.

"After my incident, I had a number of calls from constituents who said that they had similar incidents and maybe they didn't go as positive as mine went," said Keith.

The recently elected councilman took to Facebook to shed light on the situation that happened a month ago in his neighborhood of Terry Heights. Weeks later, another Facebook post from Keith showed bullets found in a north Huntsville yard. One, he claims, was found in an 85-year-old's living room.

He said all of this is what prompted the meeting.

"Once you hear from your constituents, it is your duty to really try to assess what the problem is and try and create some level of solution," said Keith.

He adds, the problem is two-fold. "One can't be content as a police officer and believe that we're supposed to have some level, and I say we as the administration, of respect just because we wear the badge. That respect is to be earned," said Keith.

Although, on the other hand, people have to be willing and want to listen. "We have to have an engagement level that allows us to understand what a police officer goes through, the training that they go through and having an assessment really to create the bridge," said Keith.

He says he hopes this meeting will turn into a policy proposal when it comes to community policing.